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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Flat-Footed Finish Elicits Vastly Different Emotions

Marmonte League: Underdog Thousand Oaks exults after final drive lifts Lancers to 31-31 tie against cross-town rival Westlake.

October 24, 1998|TRIS WYKES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

THOUSAND OAKS — Westlake High and cross-town rival Thousand Oaks played to a 31-31 tie Friday in a Marmonte League game at Thousand Oaks. But though the teams finished neck-and-neck, each side received the deadlock with different emotions.

At the final gun, Thousand Oaks huddled and cheered and smiles abounded in the Lancers' tight circle.

Ten yards away, Westlake also gathered, the Warriors' pursed lips and serious expressions providing a striking contrast.

Underdog Thousand Oaks (2-4-1, 1-1-1 in league play) pulled itself to within 31-30 when receiver Jesse Siebers caught a pass from Gabe Portilla on a quick slant and raced 52 yards for a touchdown with 1:29 to play.

Richard Grossman's extra point completed the scoring. Westlake (5-1-1, 1-1-1) could advance only to its 35-yard line on the game's last drive.

"That's my signature move," Siebers said jokingly of his only catch of the game. "As soon as [the cornerback] stepped outside I cut in. It's more than a tie for us, and for me."

The game was a battle of running backs with Thousand Oaks' Wes Cobos carrying 25 times for 234 yards and two touchdowns. Westlake's Julian Lambert gained 231 yards and scored two touchdowns in 34 carries.

Lambert was the workhorse in Westlake's final scoring drive. With the score tied, 24-24, the Warriors took over at their 40-yard line and handed off to Lambert seven consecutive times. His final carry was a four-yard touchdown and Drew Thomas added his fourth conversion kick for a 31-24 lead with 1:45 to play.

Westlake's Zac Wasserman completed eight of 22 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. He had a pass intercepted. Thousand Oaks' Portilla completed seven of 10 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown.

Thousand Oaks trailed, 24-16, at halftime but got a nine-yard Cobos touchdown run late in the third quarter that capped a six-play, 73-yard drive. Joey Casillas, who rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown in 10 carries, added the conversion run.

"We knew we'd have problems with their two backs and we were never able to even slow them down," Westlake Coach Jim Benkert said.

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